Thursday, March 27, 2014

Smart Money, Smart Kids Post #3 WORK

I love the title of Chapter 2--"Work is NOT a Four-Letter Word." It made me laugh. The truth does that sometimes, right?!

We are living in a culture of "work smarter, not harder." Well I say why not do both?! You really can if you try.

I worked for H&R Block for 7 years. The Block office model consisted of greeters, filers, preparers, transmitters and list could keep going. I worked in one of the smallest stores in Nashville for the majority of my years with Block. We only had that list of people during peak week. Even then we really didn't need all of those people in our small office. We were a small team of folks, but we had this amazing work smart and hard bond. We were fair and we all took our turns doing the long list of jobs that were delegated to one person at the bigger stores. I will never miss H&R Block, but I will always miss the team I had at that little store. We were a family of tax preparers. We never delegated who did what, no we all learned all the jobs and we did them without asking. Everyone in that office worked smart and hard and that is what made our office so successful.

I was moved out of the office my last year at Block. My brain thinks like a robot when processing tax returns it is the weirdest thing. Home Office Block loved that I could key in a tax return from start to finish in 3 minutes without an error. However I was actually called into that new office by the manager one day and was told to please take at least 5 minutes to process the returns. I asked why and was told I made those who had been there longer look bad. I was told that the Senior preparers complained that I was doing too many returns. I was even accused of "stealing a client," when really the lady was tired of waiting for that preparer.

I can testify that office did not want to work. The manager didn't even want to work. Everyone stayed in their lane and stuck to their job description, but then complained about things not getting done. I cannot tell you how many times people would be sitting down doing nothing and then whining about something that they could do themselves not getting done. The thing that killed me was if those things were all done correctly then we had a happier office and our productivity would increase. This is what my small office taught me. But in the large office it was not seen that way. Many of the people in that office were just riding the clock to get that hourly wage. But I knew the was called work!

Here's the thing about Block, you have a base salary and then you have the chance to earn commission. Guess what drove me to increase my speed, work harder and work smarter.....that's right that one word.....commission. The more tax education classes you took, the more you were paid. The more tax returns you processed, the more you were paid. You had to work for that commission and boy did I. I always had a nice check at the end of the season and so did my friends at the smaller office. Yes, the employees of the large office only received small checks if anything at all. Why?! Because they didn't want to work. They didn't want to get to the next level, they wanted to sit and collect that hourly wage.

I laughed a few times during this chapter, so many events in my life made me look at that word work and think about others. My years at Block, my years waiting tables and now my years of working in the non-profit community all made me reflect on how others really view work as a four letter word. Well in this house work becomes a five letter!

Like the Ramsey family, we do not offer allowances to our girls. We offer commission. Why?! Because why in the world should I pay you for existing? No one pays me for existing. We have told our girls we allow you to live in this house and eat our food. That is the only allowance you will get from us.

Working for Block was eye opening for me. I had only had hourly paid jobs before. I waited tables and I always had nice tips, but Block was where I really learned about commission. I really learned about working harder and smarter through my 7 years there. Now I run my own tax company and I love it. What do I love the most about it? I love being an in-home example of hard work to our girls.

Our girls are learning first hand what commission really is. They see me working like crazy during tax season balancing a full-time job, caring for them and their father, homeschooling and then preparing taxes and financially counseling other families.Yes our girls have a tax season grumble. And yes they love April 16th as much as I do! And yes we usually celebrate April 16th. ;)

We have sat the girls down a few times and explained that the harder I work the more money comes into our home. The more money we have at our disposal, the more things we can go and do. This idea also extends to them. We pay them for their assistance around our home. Chaz is very limited on where and when he can help. But if they help him, they are all helping our family. If they help me help him we will reward them with money. How in the world do we do that and when did we start?! I will lay all of that out tomorrow. ;)


  1. "Well in this house work becomes a five letter!"

    Oh how I love this quote!

  2. The small office reminds me of a nimble startup, the big office reminds me of a big calcified corporation - no thanks! There are few things as challenging and rewarding as running your own business, and it's neat that your kids see that example everyday.
    "In this house work becomes a five letter!" - Love that! Nice post.

  3. Doesn't seem like there are that many people who really want to work these days! My husband got in trouble for picking parts for a car company too quickly after we first got married. He even had someone ram him from behind with a flatbed because they were mad at him. The boss called him into the office and was disappointed that Ed worked hard because he was a Christian and that's just what you're supposed to do. The boss was so disappointed. He wanted to bottle whatever Ed had and give it to the rest of the guys...
    May your roots go down deep into the Lord and His Word. Praying as always!
    Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.